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Agile & Scrum Training Courses

Agile and Scrum training courses are available from Focus in London, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bath, Crewe, Reading and Glasgow.

Agile and Scrum are project management approaches which address the special requirements faced by project managers working in an Information Systems (IS) environment.  However, Agile project management techniques are also becoming popular in many other project situations where requirements and technology are fast changing. Agile project methods use iterative methods to enable project managers to cope with change.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does Agile mean?

Agile has come to embody a range of project and software development techniques where speed and lightness of touch prevail.

Some of the principles behind the Agile Manifesto developed by proponents in 2001 are:

  • Customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software
  • Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  • Working software is the principal measure of progress
  • Even late changes in requirements are welcomed
  • Close, daily, cooperation between business people and developers
  • Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication
  • Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  • Simplicity
  • Self-organising teams
  • Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

Although with its roots in IT projects, Agile methods are increasingly adopted for other project types. 

What is DSDM - Atern?

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) is a framework originally based upon Rapid Application Development (RAD). DSDM utilises continuous user involvement in an iterative development and incremental approach, which is responsive to changing requirements, to deliver software or other deliverables that satisfies the business requirements on time and on budget.

DSDM was developed in the United Kingdom in the 1990s by the DSDM Consortium of vendors and experts in the field of Information System (IS) development by combining their best-practice experiences. The DSDM Consortium is a non-profit, vendor independent organisation which owns and administers the framework.

In 2007 DSDM was updated as an agile project delivery framework available to all.  The latest release is branded Atern.  There is associated training and certification regulated by APMG. 

Atern’s eight Principles are:

  •  Focus on the business need    
  •  Deliver on time     
  •  Collaborate 
  •  Never compromise quality 
  •  Develop iteratively 
  •  Build incrementally from firm foundations 
  •  Communicate continuously and clearly 
  •  Demonstrate control 


More information...

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a lightweight agile method for software development or project management, named after the scrum procedure in the sport of rugby.

Characteristics include:

  • A living backlog of prioritized work to be done
  • Completion of a largely fixed set of backlog items in a series of short iterations or sprints
  • A brief daily meeting or scrum, at which time progress is explained, upcoming work is described and impediments are raised
  • A brief planning session in which the backlog items for the sprint will be defined
  • A brief heartbeat retrospective, at which time all team members reflect about the past sprint
  • Scrum is facilitated by a ScrumMaster, but the team is self-organising

Scrum enables the creation of self-organising teams by encouraging verbal communication across all team members and across all disciplines that are involved in the project.

A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that fundamentally empirical challenges cannot be addressed successfully in a traditional "process control" manner. As such, Scrum adopts an empirical approach – accepting that the problem cannot be fully understood or defined, focusing instead on maximizing the team's ability to respond in an agile manner to emerging challenges.

What's "Timeboxing"?

Timeboxing is a very important aspect of all DSDM - Atern projects. It's also used in Scrum "Sprint" process.

It is an approach to working that is driven by deadlines. Without timeboxing, project teams may lose their focus and run out of control.

Timeboxing is a process by which defined objectives are reached at pre-determined and immovable dates through continuous prioritisation and flexing of requirements.

Newspaper editors work in this way all the time. They have a deadline and they have a fixed amount of space in which they can publish their articles. Everything may be planned out, but the world doesn’t stop happening just to meet newspaper deadlines. So sometimes late news arrives and when it does, space needs to be found for it. The only way to do this, if the new story is more important than anything already in the paper, is to shorten some existing articles or even to leave them out altogether.

What Agile training and qualifications are there?

There has been rapid growth in adoption of Agile methodologies.  Several methods are now underpinned by international co-ordinating bodies which administer training and certification schemes.

The most widely recognised are Scrum and DSDM.

Download the Focus guide to Agile Project Management & Scrum to find out more.

In 2010 a new course and qualification, Certified Agile Project Management, was launched by APMG which is the accreditation body responsible for PRINCE2 and ITIL. This is based on DSDM and looks at agile in the context of the total project lifecycle.

Also new is the Certified Agile Tester qualification from the International Software Quality Institute.

More information...

What are the Moscow Rules?

The MoSCoW Rules (or MoSCoW Method) form a pragmatic technique used within DSDM - Atern.  Requirements are prioritised as:

  • Must Have
  • Should Have
  • Could Have
  • Won’t Have this time

What is Planning Poker?

Planning Poker is an Agile tool for estimating software development projects. It's a technique that minimises "anchoring" which arises when a group openly discusses items of risk or uncertainty. Numbered "estimate cards" are played simultaneously by each team member such that they cannot be seen by the other players.

A study by K. Molokken-Ostvold and N.C. Haugen found that estimates obtained through the Planning Poker process were less optimistic and more accurate than estimates obtained through mechanical combination of individual estimates for the same tasks.

"Certified ScrumMaster” or “Professional Scrum Master”

There are two Scrum Master qualifications available – the original from Scrum Alliance and more recently a very similar variant from Scrum.org. Both will provide you with the same basic understanding of Scrum. We find that most people still prefer the Scrum Alliance route. These courses appear under the Certified ScrumMaster title on the Focus website and include the certification exam [the Professional Scrum Master course does not].

Scrum or APMG Certified Agile Project Management Practitioner?

The Agile Project Management Practitioner certification from APMG sits alongside other best practice guidance such as PRINCE2 and MSP. It draws on DSDM and places Agile in the context of the full project lifecycle. It is genuinely complementary to Scrum. It recognises that whilst there is a role for agile techniques they often need to be deployed within a structured project framework. It’s particularly relevant to those with broader project responsibility than simply the development activity.

Can Focus help our organisation adopt Agile?

Yes. We have worked with organisations from niche marketing agencies to international food retailers to help them adopt an agile philosophy. This may involve a benchmarking audit, a series of training inputs, and on-going coaching support. Our network of the best UK training specialists means we can ensure you benefit from deep knowledge and practical and relevant experience.

How to get our Analysts and Software Testers up to speed with Agile?

Focus offers a wide range of specialist training inputs. This includes Agile Business Analysis, User Stories and Scrum Product Owner courses for Business Analysts. For Software Testers who hold the ISEB-ISTQB Foundation certificate we offer the 2 day ISTQB agile tester extension course. For more experienced testers there is the internationally recognised Certified Agile Tester certification.

Why choose Focus on Training for your Agile & Scrum training?

Focus specialises in Project Management, Business Analysis and IT training. We offer the most comprehensive schedule of public courses and can also deliver in-house training options. Our trainers combine deep specialist knowledge with practical real world experience.  We are committed to consistent high quality course delivery, and an efficient booking experience. You can read what other delegates thought of our Agile & Scrum training here.

Our customers include Balfour Beatty, Department of Health, Greater Manchester Police, NHS Education for Scotland and Southampton Council.

What delivery formats are available for Agile training?

As well as instructor led classroom courses we also offer online courses and in-house Agile training.  Agile onsite training is a convenient and cost-effective study method for organisations looking to train a group of delegates. Our online Agile & Scrum courses let you study in your own time and are usually the least expensive study option.

What other training requirements can Focus help with?

We have an extensive range of  courses suitable for business, IT and project professionals. This includes training in the areas of Prince2, MSP, APM, ITIL, Business Analysis, Microsoft Project and Software Testing.

Our most popular courses include Prince2 Foundation & Practitioner, MSP Practitioner, ITIL Foundation and ISTQB Software Testing Foundation. Contact a member of our sales team today to discuss your requirements.

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